Hudson Tonga’uiha is looking forward to catching up with some old friends when former club Doncaster Knights visit London Welsh on Saturday at Old Deer Park (3pm).

The Tonga international centre, who won 19 caps between 2005-09, made 59 appearances, scoring 12 tries and a drop goal, during his two seasons at the Knights before joining Welsh last summer.

“I made some very good friends in the two seasons I had in Doncaster. The one thing I didn’t enjoy though was the cold weather! Training in the cold was never my favourite thing,” said Tonga’uiha, who has already made his mark at Welsh with some explosive breaks and crunching tackles.

“It’s going to be tough game as they’re a club in form; they beat Bristol away, only lost to Worcester by a penalty in the final minute and came back to beat Nottingham last weekend. We’ve been studying their videos all week and we are expecting a very physical challenge.”

The warm welcome will only be extended off the pitch, as Tonga’uiha and Welsh will be keen to bounce back from their derby defeat to Esher last Friday - the Exiles going down 22-19 in the rain at Molesey Road.

“We have no excuses for losing at Esher. The conditions were far from ideal but we made it tough for ourselves by not executing our game plan. We made far too many mistakes and gave away needless penalties which they took advantage of,” said Tonga’uiha, who has started all six of Welsh’s Championship matches this season and is settling nicely into life at Old Deer Park, a transition helped by the presence at the club of fellow Pacific Islanders Epi Taione, Vili Ma’asi and Waisea Luveniyali.

“I’m loving life at London Welsh; I’ve fitted in well. There are lots of Islanders here who help with the language and the whole team are a great bunch of boys, and I like the open, running style of rugby that London Welsh play,” he said.

The Exiles have taken bonus point wins from their last two outings at Old Deer Park, against Birmingham & Solihull and Rotherham Titans, but Tonga’uiha says Welsh won’t be thinking about keeping that run going on Saturday.

“We never think about bonus points before a game. We go out there to win first, that is more important, but we like to play an open game so given the right conditions we can score tries,” he said.

Having made his international debut as a 21-year-old against Fiji in Suva in June 2005, Tong’uiha won the last of his 19 international caps in a 21-19 win over Japan in June 2009. He was also part of Tonga’s squad for the 2007 World Cup, coming on as a replacement in the pool defeat to England.

“We were in Pool A with South Africa, Samoa, England and the USA. I remember playing against England and losing a tough match 36-20. I was marking Andy Farrell, who was a good player.

“At this moment in time I can’t think that far ahead [World Cup 2011]. I’m concentrating on my club rugby but if called up by Tonga I will be glad to play for them again.”